Bickerdike’s battling half century puts Great Preston on track

James Bickerdike.
James Bickerdike.

Champions Great Preston moved to within two points of the Wetherby League summit following a comfortable 49-run victory at fellow title contenders Scarcroft.

Preston decided to bat first on a green, variable bouncing wicket. Prolific openers Ian Newton (16) and Lee Russell (18) put on 36 for the first wicket before both fell in quick succession. James Marston (0) soon followed with the score a precarious 45-3.

The ever reliable James Bickerdike and Chris Wormstone steadied the ship with an aggressive 67-run partnership before the latter fell for 30. Bickerdike went on to reach his half century before he was dismissed for the first time this season when bowled for 57 (off just 54 balls).

But Richard Young (26), Stuart Ruddick (25 not out) and Jamie Scott (15 not out) made useful contributions as Preston were all out with a challenging 211 on the board.

Scarcroft, who had 47 overs to reach their target, started brightly as Simon Smith (30) and Richard Stephens (26) shared a half-century opening partnership before Chris Baldwin trapped the former.

Newton then dismissed Stephens, Chris Oldfield and dangerous overseas Aaron Shackleford as the hosts slumped to 63-4. Damien Aston (32) offered some resistance, but wickets continued to tumble as Scarcroft slumped to 129-9. Their last pair of Colin Arnot (11 not out) and Keith Pickersgill (16 not out) managed to secure a point as they ended on 162-9. Newton, Baldwin and Russell were the pick of Preston’s attack, snaring three wickets each.

Great Preston were also in winning form when their quest for Fred Fleetwood Cup glory started with a farcical win at eight-man Saxton.

Last year’s beaten finalists raced to a 10-wicket victory against second division opponents in a game lasting just 24.1 overs.

Put in, Saxton were on the back foot immediately after crazy running saw Dan Hewer and James Leonard both back in the tent with just 12 on the board. The next four wickets fell for just four runs and although final pair Phil Chaston and Matt Ball showed some spirit Saxton were all out for 61. Matt Davie claimed 2-6 with Mark Mosby, Chris Baldwin and Richard Gandy taking a wicket apiece.

The debacle was all over in 5.2 overs as Preston reached their 62-run target without loss. Davie hit 25 not out off 12 balls and fellow opener James Marston 31 from 21 deliveries.

Ledsham beat Kirk Hammerton by six wickets in Division Two after bowling them out for 100.

Johnny Smales (4-22) and Andrew Kelly (3-23) were the pick of the bowlers before Smales (27), David Johnson (26 not out) and Olly Baron (25 not out) brought Ledsham home.

Ledsham were knocked out of the Fred Fleetwood Cup when going down by seven wickets to Bilton in Ainsty after being all out for 102. Mark Kelly (26) top scored against first division opposition.